Testing and Optimization: SiteSpect, CSN Stores Case Study

December 8, 2014

CSN Stores is one of the fastest-growing online retailers in the U.S. with more than 260 specialty e-commerce sites and five million monthly visitors. But even a site of this size and scope faces the same challenges that affect smaller retailers. And perhaps the biggest challenge of each is increasing conversions.

Like many involved with e-commerce, CSN has thousands of products (and hundreds of Web properties). Users came to see a variety of sites based on changing inventory and differing time spans, meaning a lot of dynamic content. In a rapidly changing environment, the issue for CSN was effectively experimenting with product, placement and promotion – those things that could potentially hinder conversion, without interfering with the underpinnings of the websites.

To help with this challenging task CSN turned to SiteSpect, a leader in non-obtrusive website conversion optimization technology, who then ran a combination of A/B and multivariate testing. After implementing the SiteSpect solution, reviewing results and making adjustments, CSN Stores saw a sales increase of seven percent – modest but noteworthy.

“This is all about marketing optimization,” said Eric Hansen, President of SiteSpect. “The process starts with identifying goals, and going methodically through the site and finding out where you can better persuade users to take action on those goals.”

To get to that seven percent jump in sales, CSN Stores enhanced its search capability to help visitors more quickly find the products they wanted, improving the user experience and streamlining the buying process. Additionally, CSN Stores was able to discover and use alternate image sizes that elicited higher response rates. All suggestions based on the results of thorough testing and user interactions.

“CSN Stores is dedicated to providing the best customer experience in online shopping,” said Eric Klose, Vice President of Marketing for CSN Stores. “Helping our customers find what they need as quickly as possible is what we’re all about. SiteSpect helps us see which site elements work best in leading a shopper from a search result through to a purchase.”

The advantages of testing and providing a better experience for consumers are clear. But why SiteSpect?

“Based on our research two years ago, SiteSpect was the only solution that required no involvement from the technology team after set-up,” said Klose. “The others purported to have this feature, but they generally needed site areas defined with javascript as a testing zone and marketing could then upload options to alternate between those spaces. SiteSpect uses regular expressions to effectively do a find-replace on the site HTML. Our marketing team is free to test whatever we want without needing to work around the technology team’s priorities.”

CSN Stores assigns just one person to working directly with SiteSpect tools, but a dozen people are stakeholders in projects or produce content (i.e their design team). “We have four people trained on the solution who have used it at different times. The takeaway is that we have not had a challenge in training people on the platform,” said Klose.

In the end, CSN uncovered areas of their sites for improvement that made search and navigation easier for end users. The results were better websites, a facilitated shopping experience, happier customers and a nice increase in sales. It shows the importance of testing, for not only the large retailer but every website focused on a positive customer experience. It also shows the importance of finding a testing solution and provider that works for your specific needs and the needs of your employees.

This article originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of Website Magazine. You can read the original version here.